the whipped cream conundrum

"would you like whipped cream with that? hell yeah!"


January 2016

Our Next Moon Shot


The death of the iconic David Bowie has been on my mind all day; in part because of the loss of his unparalled talent, but primarily because the cause of his death hits close to home –  cancer.  His passing reminds me that cancer can hit anytime to anyone – famous or infamous, rich or poor, male or female, young or old.  I think it would be virtually impossible to find anyone these days who hasn’t been affected by cancer.  So what now…

While somewhat of a non-sequitor, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the comments made recently by Vice President, Joe Biden.  As he explained his decision to remain out of the 2016 campaign for President, he took the opportunity to address the continuing challenge of cancer:

“I believe that we need a moon shot in this country to cure cancer. It’s personal. But I know we can do this. The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development, because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine, the things that are just about to happen. And we can make them real with an absolute national commitment to end cancer, as we know it today.” – Joe Biden

When I walk into waiting rooms at Massachusetts General Hospital or Dana Farber Cancer Institute, there is often an overflow into the hallway.  There have been times I couldn’t get a blood transfusion for days because the transfusion units were booked.  I had to wait hours to be admitted to the cancer unit when I was admitted to the hospital.  Often times there was barely a space to sit in the radiation waiting room.

With cancer on our minds today, it is up to all of us to find a way to empty those waiting rooms.  The cynic in me thinks perhaps we can never “end” cancer, but I am starting to believe more and more that through research and perseverance, we can prevent and cure different types cancers.  We can transform how cancer is detected and treated.

One way you can help now is to support the research being done at the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  This year, for the second time, my close friend Nicole is running the Boston Marathon to support the innovative research being conducted at the Barr Program.  Nicole has been a champion of raising money to support cancer research and a personal champion to me – she has spent hours entertaining me while I was in the hospital, she knows when I need a laugh and she always has my back.  This year, she has the advantageous goal of raising $10,000 to support the program’s efforts.  I would be grateful if you would consider making a donation of any size, but if you donate $200, Nicole will run a mile in memory or honor of someone you know affected by cancer.  You can donate to Nicole’s run here.

Cancer has taken an icon from us today…but just as we landed on the moon, we can find ways to end cancer as we know it (I think Mr. Bowie would appreciate the analogy to space!).

Feeling Like Miss Colombia


Perhaps you’ve heard the recent story about the crowning mishap at the Miss Universe contest.  Short story short…Miss Colombia was named the winner of the pageant, however her victory was short-lived when the host declared that he made a mistake.  The crown was abruptly removed and replaced on the head of Miss Philippines.  Oops…You must be scratching your head – where on earth is Lisa going with this?  Well, I’m feeling a little like Miss Colombia (yes, I just compared myself to a contestant in a beauty pageant!).

Around Thanksgiving, the doctors told me I was finally cancer-free.  I rushed to tell all my family and friends; I couldn’t wait to blog about the exciting news.  I celebrated with my family; I received gifts and cards from friends.  I trusted that I would be finally able to rebuild my life post-treatment.  I got to wear the sparkly crown.

But, like Miss Colombia, my celebration was short-lived.  I learned not long thereafter that one of my tumors, according to doctors, either grew back at a pace that is virtually impossible or the countless radiation treatments failed to get it all in the first place.  I’m not sure they really know, although they work hard to pretend they do.  I’ve always had a blind faith in my medical team; I am privileged enough to be treated at one of the top hospitals in the country and by experts in their respective fields.  But sometimes even the so-called best get stumped.

What now?  Radiation is no longer an option; it turns out there is a lifetime cap on the amount of radiation one person can receive and I’ve reached it in the areas that have been radiated.  Chemotherapy isn’t an option at this point.  As my surgeon said, “The scalpel is always available.” So, I will be undergoing another surgery to remove what is left of my tumor.  Will this get everything?  I don’t know.

I thought the start of 2016 was going to be a clean slate with a clean bill of health.  I was ready to get back to work and back to myself, but shit happens and it doesn’t always happen on my timeline.  I won’t lie…it sucks.  To have that sense of relief ripped away was just another punch in the gut.  My health, as one friend once described it, is like a game of whack-a-mole.  When will I get to wear the sparkly crown?

The good news is that I am feeling better these days and, while it may be temporary, I am savoring each moment.


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